Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

Staff: Head Finial

Date:
19th–20th century
Geography:
Angola
Culture:
Songo
Medium:
Wood, iron
Dimensions:
H. 28 13/16 x W. 2 1/4 x D. 3 in. (73.3 x 5.7 x 7.6 cm)
Classification:
Wood-Sculpture
Credit Line:
The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Purchase, Nelson A. Rockefeller Gift, 1960
Accession Number:
1978.412.415
Not on view
The broad expanse of open savanna in southern Democratic Republic of the Congo and northern Angola witnessed the rise of several wealthy and powerful states during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In these societies art objects are made to show the power of the chief. Chokwe chiefs and those of related peoples, such as the Songo and Ovimbundu, possess many articles--chairs, stools, ceremonial weapons, staffs of office, even tobacco pipes--elaborately carved with figures and scenes of village life. Careful attention is paid to accurate depiction of tattoo marks, coiffures, and headdresses, such as the high curving one worn by the Chokwe chief himself.
[Matthias Komor, New York, until 1960]; The Museum of Primitive Art, New York, 1960–1978

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